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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C by Dissection: The Essentials of C Programming (4th Edition)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Al Kelley, Ira Pohl
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
difficult, but worth the effort

I had this book in an intro to C class. There is a lot of information between the lines; ie not spelled out. This book cannot be skimmed. You need to read slowly and think about what you read. A lot of new information is presented in the exercises. You almost need to do them all. This book is helpful for learning the Unix environment.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Python Programming on Win32
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Mark Hammond, Andy Robinson
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Python and Win32 for Pinheads

If you know nothing about Python, Visual Basic, scripting languages, Win32 API, MFC, COM, active scripting, Windows Networking and NT administration, then after you've read this book you'll get some very general idea of what these all are about: this book covers them all, as well as many other things. But whenever it comes to tell you something really interesting, authors just say: "well, it's out of the scope of this book, so let's stop here..."
However, there are things this book does not cover. For instance, I thought scripting languages are a handy tool for text processing, but throughout this book I encountered only one mention of regular expressions - in the context of filtering file names, and you won't find regular expressions in the Index. From 10-page Chapter "Working with Email" you'll learn what SMTP and POP3 stand for, and from 15-page Appendix(!) "Threads" you'll learn that Python has something to do with threads, and fairly much about COM threading model.
Information in this 650-page book can fit a dozen-page article. Most of all this book looks like a slide show for marketing, trying to convince them that Python is the answer to all questions. And most of the time it sounds like: "It's easy, we won't tell you exactly what and how, but for smart guys like us who can read man pages, it's very easy."

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS for Photographers : Professional Image Editor's Guide to the Creative Use of Photoshop for the Mac and PC
Publisher: Focal Press
Authors: Martin Evening
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Photoshop Bliss

I purchased this book immediately after seeing Martin at a Digital Design conference. As an "old school" (mind you, I graduated art school in 1998) photographer, I admit hesitation when dealing with digital cameras. However, Martin's techniques combine the genius of Photoshop with the "old school" craft of traditional photography.

For instance, the use of the MacBeth Color Checker Chart blew me away. This is ordinarily used with film cameras. To see traditional items and techniques used in digital media is both amazing and ground breaking. He has mastered the art of fine color correction and digital imaging and this book has changed the way I use Photoshop forever.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Rational Guide to Building SharePoint Web Parts (Rational Guides)
Publisher: Rational Press
Authors: Darrin Bishop
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Small Book, Just What You Need to Know.

As big as it is, with as many pages as it has, the web is really in its infancy. New technologies are constantly being developed. Some of these will suceed and some will not. Microsoft SharePoint Web Parts are one approach that gives the end user some control over the information content and appearance of information coming from an Internet host. The current version of web parts is 2003. This new is not necessarily compatible with the older 2001 version. It does appear however that the system is getting closer to being ready for prime time. Note that these are new features a la Microsoft. Other browsers, or older browners will not support the capabilities.

It is possible for each end user to exercise some control over the pages he sees, but except in extraordinary circumstances, this doesn't seem likely. It seems more oriented to internal corporate users where the web designer can do specific team oriented customized views. In essence the salesmen in the field can see one thing, displayed in a manner comfortable for them, while the accounting department sees something quite different.

The Rational Guide books are somewhat of a new concept in publishing where a small book, compared with most computer books, can hold down the price and the size while devoting itself to one subject. In addition, the publisher has made additional information available on his web site to allow the reader to expand his knowledge beyond just this book. I like this concept. All computer books don't need to be 1,000 pages, much of which is just copied from the previous edition. The audience for this book is considered by the publisher to be a Beginner/Intermediate Developer. Beginner - yes, Web Parts are so new that almost all of us are beginners. But this is not the book for someone just starting out on IIS and ASP .NET.

Excellent concept for a book, well executed.